The over 1,000-year-old Tungnath is one of the five Panch Kedar temples in India that includes Kedarnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar, and Kalpeshwar located at the high altitude of the Himalayas. The sixth temple is located in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Devotees often go on a pilgrimage to visit these Panch Kedar Temples that are associated with the Panch Pandavas and the sacred Tungnath Temple is only open to visitors for half a year as the temple will be covered in thick snow blankets from November to May each year.
According to the legend, these Panch Kedar Temples were built by the Pandavas who traveled in search of Lord Shiva - to seek his forgiveness.
The Legend Of Panch Kedar
After the epic Kurushetra War in Mahabaratha, the Pandavas goes on a pilgrimage to atone for their sins of killing priests and their relatives during the war. They handed over their kingdom to their kin and headed to Varanasi to get the blessing of Lord Shiva.
However, Lord Shiva was unhappy with the deaths and deceit that took place during the war, assumed the form of a Nandi (bull), and went into hiding in the Garhwal region.
Bhima, one of the Pandavas, spotted a bull at Guptakashi and immediately recognized it as Lord Shiva. He captured the bull by its tail and hind legs. The bull disappeared only to reappear later in parts - hump at Kedarnath, navel to stomach at Madhyamaheshwar, face at Rudranath, and hair at Kalpeshwar.
The Tungnath Temple is believed to be the place where the bull's arms reappeared and are the third to be visited during the Panch Kedar pilgrimage.
The sixth temple that's associated with this legend, Doleshwor Mahadeva Temple, is situated in Nepal, and according to the legend, the bull's head appeared at this location.
Pandavas who were pleased to find the raising parts, build the temples to worship Lord Shiva, and to get rid of their sins.
Source: Euttaranchal, India.com, Delhi Planet and India Today
Image credit: Tour My India, Euttaranchal, Medium, Pinterest & Delhi Planet, MyGoodTrip